What I Learned in 2022: The Needful Thing

What I Learned in 2022: The Needful Thing

Where did I spend my time?

In formulating my list this year, I began by answering the question, “where did I spent my time.”  I considered the books I read:  books on spiritual disciplines, strategic prayer, and holy watchfulness.  Who were the people I included on my calendar and how was my life enriched by being with them?

All these informed my final selection of what I learned in 2022.  And what I learned was this:  The pursuit of God is the most important thing in my life.  He is everything His Word says He is.  He is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  He is our Everlasting Father, our Healer, Provider, and Protector.  And much, much more.

The pursuit of God and His righteousness really resonated with me as I read the Luke narrative about two sisters who had differing views on how to spend their time.

Mary and Martha

In Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV), we are introduced to two sisters, Mary and Martha.  We are given a snapshot of how each chooses to “spend their time with Jesus.”  As you read this text, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal who you most resemble.

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.”  And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Is this us today?  The busyness of life steals time from us.  That same time can be best used in fellowship with Jesus.  What stands in our way?  Perhaps, it’s social media, or an over committed calendar. Satan loves to keep us busy.  As a result, we fill our lives with things of the world rather than sitting at the feet of Jesus, the only One Who has all we need.

A Thirst for God

In Psalm 42:1-2, the Psalmists uses the imagery of a thirsty deer, to describe longing to be with God.

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? 

This is perhaps what Mary had a thirst for: The Living God.  Isn’t it funny how we continually look for things in this world to satisfy our human “thirsts”. We attempt to satisfy them with “stuff”: money, clothes, ambition, relationships.  But in the end, it is the intangibles that only a relationship with Jesus Christ can truly satisfy.  Love, joy, peace.  Only in God’s presence can we satisfy our thirsty soul.

One thing is needful…that good part

What was the one thing needed? The New Living Translation says it this way: “There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it.” The word “needed” is translated to mean “a necessity; such things needed for sustenance and the journey”.  And what was that good part?  Jesus.  Jesus, the Living Word, was necessary for Mary to live life more abundantly (John 10:10).  Jesus was needed for spiritual sustenance and the journey of life.  And He still is.

As we address the challenges of 21st century living, we as believers have left our “first Love” (Rev. 2:4).  We have forgotten what it means to be “in relationship with Jesus”.  Relationship is built as we read God’s Word and better understand His ways and His works. Martha had forgotten that at one time she too sat at Jesus feet and listened to His Word.  But now she had allowed the “busy work” to replace the “good work”.

Why is it the “good part”? Relationship with Jesus is the only thing that is important—in time and for eternity.  What we see now is fading away…deteriorating…temporary.  But what God offers us is incorruptible and undefiled, that never fades away; reserved in heaven for us (1 Pet. 1:4).  This is what was offered to Mary and therefore, wouldn’t be taken away from her.  This is still the offer to us today.

Where do we sit?

What’s most important to you?  What will our calendar say is the priority for our time?  What “words” capture our attention and become our values, beliefs, and lifestyles?  What I learned in 2022, was illustrated in the story of Mary and Martha.  Jesus states it clearly then as He states it in 2023.  “One thing is needful.” (Luke 10:42) Rediscover and pursue your First Love.  Make fellowship with the Father and Jesus your top priority in 2023.

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